FOXBORO — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady pretty much followed the same tune as head coach Bill Belichick in deflecting questions during his media availability on Wednesday regarding sexual assault allegations against recently-signed receiver Antonio Brown.
“I’m just trying to show up and play football,” Brady said. “Just trying to prepare. Miami’s a good team. I’m going to get ready for them. Things that don’t involve me, don’t involve me.”
It was a take that resonated throughout the Patriots’ locker room as the team prepared to take on the Dolphins Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Fellow captains Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty both discussed the seriousness of the allegations after Brown was accused on Tuesday of sexually assaulting his former trainer, Britney Taylor, in a story first reported by The New York Times.
“I don’t want to minimize the serious nature of (the allegations), but I don’t feel as though I’m qualified to really speak to it because I don’t know anything about it,” Slater said.
Slater later expounded on the situation.
“It’s a little hard to know the truth about situations you’re not directly involved in, and for you to try to speak to situations or speak to people that you know nothing about, I think is unwise. I think you have to try to keep an open mind and treat situations as they come, day by day.”
McCourty echoed that.
“It’s serious,” McCourty said. “I don’t think anybody sits in here and doesn’t realize how serious that situation is and everything, but I think, from a football standpoint, we have to be prepared to go out there and play against the Dolphins on Sunday because that’s what our job calls for us to do.
“I’m sure, just like you guys, everyone in this locker room has different opinions and all of that,” McCourty added, “but at the end of the day, when we come here, our job is to come to prepare and play.”
Turning the focus to Sunday was something noted by both Belichick and other members of the team as well.
“We’re trying to go out about preparation and being ready to play a game on Sunday, but certainly I’m sensitive to this situation and what is out there,” Slater said.
Brown was on the Patriots practice field for the first time Wednesday, wearing a No. 1 uniform as he hasn’t had an official number assigned. Brown finds himself in a New England locker room that Slater referred to as a brotherhood of players who support one another with “accountability and trust.”
“I believe that when you come in this locker room and you have a locker in this particular locker room that it’s always been a family environment — a brotherhood,” Slater said. “You always try to support people that are working alongside you to achieve a common goal.
Slater added a piece of advice that any new player should learn when they begin their time in New England.
“No one is bigger than the team,” Slater said. “We’re all here to try to support one another, build one another up and accomplish something that’s really bigger than ourselves. That’s what a team is about. No one individual is bigger than the team. It’s about working together as a family toward a common goal, checking your ego at the door, sometimes putting personal goals aside to ensure the success of the team.”
The Patriots will look to put the mess behind them as they get ready to travel to Miami on Sunday to face the Miami Dolphins. Brown’s status for Week Two is not yet known although the Washington Post reported Wednesday that the league will seriously consider putting Brown on paid leave via its commissioner’s exempt list, according to several sources familiar with the situation.
Brown would be ineligible to play for the Patriots if he is placed on the exempt list by the league.